What is UltraBattery®?

UltraBattery® is a hybrid, long-life lead-acid energy storage device. It combines the fast charging rates of an ultracapacitor technology with the energy storage potential of a lead-acid battery technology in a hybrid device with a single common electrolyte.

How does UltraBattery® differ from normal lead-acid battery?

A normal lead-acid battery does not contain an ultracapacitor (also known as a supercapacitor), which is an electrical component that can store a high level of charge. The combination of the ultracapacitor in UltraBattery® with the battery chemistry, all in a single electrolyte, results in a hybrid device which can be charged very quickly, and can be charged and discharged many more times than a normal lead-acid battery.

How does UltraBattery® work?

The construction of UltraBattery® means that it can operate in a Partial State of Charge: in other words, neither totally full nor totally empty of charge. If normal lead-acid batteries are operated in this State of Charge, they quickly fail, due to sulphation (the build up of large crystals of lead sulphate that resist being dissolved in the normal way during charge cycles on the battery’s negative electrode). The design of UltraBattery® minimizes sulphation. It therefore lasts for much longer than normal lead-acid batteries. Find out more

What can UltraBattery® be used for?

UltraBattery® is ideal for any variable power application where variable and/or rapid charge and discharge of energy is needed. Examples include:

  • Hybrid electric vehicles
  • Managing variability on electricity grids
  • Ancillary services for electricity grids
  • Smoothing the variability in solar and wind energy signals
  • Storing energy from renewables for later use
  • Stand-alone microgrids in combination with renewable generation to deliver local power
  • Energy storage for residential solar panel installations

Transport system support (e.g. capturing braking energy from trains, and allowing fast recharge at electric vehicle recharge stations).

Can the UltraBattery replace regular car batteries?

No. UltraBattery® are only suitable for use in high-rate Partial State of Charge applications, such as for hybrid electric vehicles.

How long do UltraBattery® cells last?

The lifetime of a battery depends on how it is used, and how many cycles of charging and discharging it is put through.

In hybrid electric vehicles, tests show that UltraBattery® can last up to 10 times longer than conventional lead-acid batteries. When operated in a string of batteries, UltraBattery® lasts for at least seven times longer. Find out more about test results proving UltraBattery’s® superior performance.

How safe is UltraBattery®?

UltraBattery® is as safe as normal lead-acid batteries, and is safer than lithium-ion batteries. The UltraBattery® electrolyte solution is largely water, and is non-flammable, whereas Li-ion batteries contain highly flammable electrolyte.

Can UltraBattery® cells be recycled?

Yes, UltraBattery® is virtually 100% recyclable. UltraBattery® is manufactured by East Penn Manufacturing Co., who has an extensive recycling operation. All the lead, acid and plastic from the batteries is safely recycled at East Penn. Find out more about UltraBattery® recycling.

How can UltraBattery® improve renewable energy storage?

UltraBattery® can improve the use of renewable energy by turning the inherent variability of power from photovoltaic solar panels or wind turbines into a smooth signal. In other words, when the renewable signal is strong, UltraBattery® stores the excess energy. And, when the solar (or wind) signal drops, the UltraBattery® releases the stored energy.

UltraBattery® can also reduce solar intermittency that results from small-scale deployments of rooftop photovoltaic panels by ramping any power supplied to the electricity grid in a controlled manner.

UltraBattery® can also be used with renewable energy sources in stand-alone or hybrid microgrids: small-scale electricity grids that can generate, distribute, and regulate power for communities.